Angel di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo scored the goals that secured a 2-0 win for Real Madrid over Malaga at the start of a big week for Los Blancos.
Going into the match already five points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona and Atletico de Madrid, Carlo Ancelotti’s men could ill afford a slip up at the Santiago Bernbeu just a week before the Clasico at the Nou Camp. Before that, Los Blancos take on Italian champions Juventus in the Champions League too.
Despite wide spread reports Gareth Bale was set for a long spell on the sidelines with a slipped disc, the 91 million euro summer signing was named on the bench for the nine-time European Cup winners. Angel di Maria kept his place in the side, being rewarding for an impressive start to the La Liga season. Isco also started against the side he joined from in a 30 million euro deal in the summer.
The home side came the closest to opening the scoring in the first half, with Ronaldo, who has already scored 12 goals in just 10 games this season, sending in a curling effort inside the first 10 minutes, only for it to come back off the crossbar. The Portugal international was a lively as ever, and had another opportunity to give Los Blancos the lead, but couldn’t connect with an Angel di Maria cross.
Malaga had goalkeeper Willy Caballero to thank for going in level at the break after he made a great save to keep out Alvaro Morata’s effort towards the end of the first half.
The hosts took the lead straight after half-time as Angel di Maria caught Caballero out of position. His cross was intended for Ronaldo but nestled in the back of the net instead, much to the delight of the home crowd. The goal seemed to encourage Los Blancos further, and they continued to carve out some decent openings.
Welshman Bale made his entrance with 15 minutes to go, and played a part in the second goal, winning the penalty that Ronaldo dispatched. Some may conclude Bale was lucky to have won the spot kick, but he showed great pace before being tumbled in the box.
Los Blancos are now just two points off Barcelona and will be hoping the Catalan side slips up at Osasuna later on Saturday evening.